- Former first lady, Nancy Reagan turns 91.
- William Schallert, the father on The Patty Duke Show is 90 today.
- Legendary actress and singer, Della Reese (Touched By An Angel) turns 81 today.
- Deliverance actor, Ned Beatty is 75 today.
- Batman’s Boy Wonder, Burt Ward turns 67.
- George W. Bush, the Former president of the United States is 66.
- Rocky legend, Sylvester Stallone turns 66.
- Cassanova Frankenstein from Mystery Men, Geoffrey Rush turns 61.
- Moonlighting’s Miss DePesto, Allyce Beasley is 61 today.
- Eight Is Enough actor, Grant Goodeve turns 60.
- Country singer Nanci Griffith is 59.
- Willie Randolph, baseball player and manager turns 58.
- Rapper 50 Cent turns 37 years old today.
- Brandon Jacobs, football player turns 30
Ward was born Bert John Gervis, Jr., in Los Angeles, California. At the age of two, Ward was listed in the magazine Strange as It Seems as the world’s youngest professional ice skater. Growing up, he was an avid reader of comic books like Superman and Superboy, and enjoyed the action-adventure show Adventures of Superman. He acquired the nickname “Sparky” in youth, possibly from the sparks his skates used to kick up during his routines or energetic nature. He excelled in high school sport activities such asfootball, track, and wrestling; he was also a member of the chess club and earned a black belt in Taekwondo. After graduation, he enrolled in college, while working part-time for his father’s real estate company.
At the age of 19, Ward auditioned for the part of Robin. He and Adam West were up against Lyle Waggoner and Peter Deyell for the roles of Batman and Robin, respectively. During this time, the show was being planned as a campy style action-adventure series, and their screen tests consisted of staged fight scenes and, at one point, Ward chopping a set of boards with his hand.
Selected for the role of Robin, Ward thought people would find Gervis (the G is soft, as in gentleman) hard to pronounce and adopted his mother’s maiden name Ward. He also changed the spelling of Bert to Burt to add “punch”.
Unlike the series’ lead, Adam West, Ward was required to do some dangerous stunt work, because his costume revealed more of his face, making it impractical for all of his stunt scenes to be performed by a stuntman. According to a 2000 A&E Biography interview of his series’ co-star, the “Dynamic Duo” had a lot of fun, both on and off the set.
At the height of Batman’s popularity, Ward recorded a series of tracks under the production of Frank Zappa. The first two, “Boy Wonder, I Love You” (which Zappa wrote) and “Orange Colored Sky,” were released as a single on November 14, 1966. Two other tracks from these sessions, “Teenage Bill of Rights” and “Autumn Love”, remained unreleased.
During the first months of shooting, Ward was paid $350 per week. By the series’ end, he was earning up to $600 a week. The series only lasted two and a half seasons, for a total of 120 episodes; according to Ward in an interview, this was because of the high cost of production. It was still high in the ratings, but ABC was losing a great deal of money. Later, NBC offered to pick it up for a fourth season, but the offer was withdrawn after learning that the sets had been destroyed.
Adam West and Burt Ward recreated their TV roles of Batman and Robin in the 20th Century Fox film “Batman, The Movie” released on 22 May 1966.
Burt said of Adam West, his mentor and friend for more than four decades, “We were completely opposite, Adam has been in many shows, tremendous, terrific background, but very ‘Mr. Hollywood’. He wanted his tea at 4pm. in the afternoon, and me, I’m just like this kid ‘that does not care,’ having a great time. And I think that’s one of the reasons that the public like them because Adam was very introspective and I’m just this exuberant kid.” In 1969, a year after Batman’s cancellation, West’s mother Audrey died, bringing the two men closer together. They have been reunited many times at conventions and TV reunion specials. In turn, Ward also made two guest-appearances with West on two separate cartoons: one was a 2002 episode of The Simpsons and eight years later in 2010, on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Ned Thomas Beatty (born July 6, 1937) is an American actor who has appeared in more than 100 films and has been nominated for an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, an MTV Movie Award for Best Villain and a Golden Globe Award; he won a Drama Desk Award.
These nominations stemmed from his performances in films and television series like Network (1976), Friendly Fire (1979), Last Train Home (1990), Hear My Song (1991), the adaptation film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2004) and Toy Story 3 (2010).
He has had great commercial success in memorable roles such as the executive Bobby Trippe in Deliverance (1972), Tennessee lawyer Delbert Reese in Nashville (1975), general attorney Dardis in All the President’s Men (1976), Bob Sweet in Silver Streak, the priest Edwards in Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Lex Luthor‘s henchman Otis in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), Bates’ right hand man Sydney Morehouse in The Toy (1982), Borisov and Pavel Petrovic in The Fourth Protocol (1987), TV presenter Ernest Weller in Repossessed(1990), Rudy Ruettiger’s father in Rudy (1993), detective McNair in Just Cause (1995), Dexter Wilkins in Life (1999), the simple sheriff in Where the Red Fern Grows (2003), the corrupt Senator Charles F. Meachum in Shooter (2007), United States Congressman Doc Long in Charlie Wilson’s War (2007) and the voice of antagonist Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear in Toy Story 3 (2010).